In reading these two articles about being a great employee, I started thinking about what it takes to be a great job seeker. I have counselled hundreds and hundreds of clients on the subject of career transition management and have witnessed first-hand what it takes to be a successful job seeker – regardless of age, experience or education. Here are seven job seeker traits to consider as you embark upon your job search. These traits have worked for others; hopefully, they will work for you, whether you are a great employee or a great job seeker!
1. Consistent Discipline and Focus. Looking for a new opportunity takes every ounce of energy you can muster. You are your own boss, cheerleader, navigator, motivator, project driver, doer and evaluator. No one will tell you what to do or what not to do. While you may hear variations on if I were you I would, you are in charge of you on this project. And no matter how fed up or frustrated you get, stick with the process until you get what you want or need to make things work for you and your family. Someone is going to get a job today and it might as well be YOU!
2. A healthy perspective and a positive attitude. Being in transition, for many, is not an easy task. That said, do your best to keep a good attitude and an open mind as you explore new opportunities. Maybe there is no better time than now to do your dream, or relocate, go back to school or totally switch gears. Regardless of your occupational choice, a good attitude and a healthy perspective will go a long way to help you get where you want to go.
3. Willingness to learn. Recently I was told by a job seeker that Linked In, Twitter and social media are for the younger generation and not for older workers. I asked him how he arrived at that conclusion. He said “Well, now that you have asked me, I really don’t know.” Whether you are 22 or 72, social media is something to learn, embrace and use as a resource in today’s competitive job market. Leverage your knowledge to your advantage – you never know which one little thing will be the deciding factor.
4. Rejection-Proof. I love teaching clients about personal branding, especially as it relates to the “brands attract” and “brands repel” piece. Think about it, if you had thousands of dollars to buy a car, which one would you buy? I know what I’d buy and it would not be what my best friend would buy. Brands attract; brands repel. He likes what he likes; I like what I like – it’s called preferences. The next time you get a rejection in whatever form it may be delivered to you, keep rolling and do not be deterred by someone’s lack of interest. Indeed, you can go peddle your papers elsewhere.
5. Change Friendly. Clients frequently tell me “Things were different when I looked for a job 10 years ago.” Today is 2014, not 2004. Yes, many things have changed with respect to looking for a new opportunity. While you are contemplating all that has changed, consider what has not changed: people hire people. Simple as that. Who do you know who knows somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody?
6. Product Knowledge Awareness and Communication. Before you go to market, do yourself a favor and undertake a thorough self-assessment. Know yourself before you attempt to educate others. Learn how to speak about product you and do so with confidence, clarity and conciseness. Know that the hiring manager is going to ask you many questions about your experience, education and employee traits/qualities relevant to the job. Make it easy for them to interview you, get to know you and hire you. Build a strong case of evidence regarding your credentials prior to going on job interviews. Practice, practice, practice before you deliver the performance of a lifetime!
7. Excellence in All Things Career Transition Management. Suppose that you are in a job interview and the hiring manager asks this question: On a five-point scale, rate yourself regarding your job search performance, tell us why you chose that number and further, is that number a good indicator of what type of employee you are?
1 – Outstanding Job Search Performance
2 – Above Average Job Search Performance
3 – Average Job Search Performance
4 – Below Average Job Search Performance
5 – Poor Job Search Performance
What, if anything, can you do – starting today – to improve your overall job search performance and show the employer that you are the one for the job? Show the prospective employer that you are a great job seeker – a great job seeker who will make an even greater employee!